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The Titan Tumbler: Colgate Visits #2 & 3

During the spring semester, Devon and Tony have made two additional trips to Colgate University in Hamilton, NY, where experimental work is underway in collaboration with Professor Joe Levy and his students. The Titan Tumbler setup has now been updated to a 15-cm diameter roller mill, tumbling ice clasts at a chilly 194 K (-80 C) thanks to solid-CO2 cooling. The next model under development will involve an air-tight barrel, capable of operating in Titan-like temperatures of 95 K. At present, tuning experiments have narrowed our experimental matrix to understand the appropriate spin velocity, barrel material, and number of clasts for a given barrel size. Ongoing experiments with varying ice crystal grain size and clast type (angular vs cubic) will determine the effect of input composition on sediment output. Rounding and mass-loss over distance of transport can help to understand weathering on Titan and possible sediment sources and sinks.

Slow-motion gif of tumbling ice clasts.